Why the Soviet authorities killed the author of the legendary "Shchedrik" and who prophesied an early death for Mykola Leontovich
Mykola Leontovich, a Ukrainian composer and author of the legendary carol "Shchedryk," lived a short life. The Soviet government was responsible for his death, as well as the deaths of thousands of other cultural figures. The composer paid with his life for his love of Ukraine.
There is a legend that it was his student who predicted the composer's early death. Mykola Leontovych's life researchers, Honored Artist of Ukraine Anatolii Zavalniuk and Olha Prokopenko, director of the Mykola Leontovich Museum in the village of Markivka, Vinnytsia region, told Suspilne about this.
Researcher Olha Prokopenko said that during a visit to her father's native village, he stayed for several days with his student Nadiia Tanashevych, where she predicted a short life.
"Her mother had a chiromantic reading. And he jokingly said: "Mrs. Matka, tell me a fortune." So she looked at his palm and said, 'You have a very long life line. And at that moment Nadiia came over and said: "Mother, you're not telling the truth, because the life line is almost over. To which Mykola said: "I will leave you for my father. Some bandit will come out and want to kill me. And I'll tell him: 'No, Mother Tanashevych predicted me many years of life,'" says Olha Prokopenko.
It was not a bandit who killed the composer, but an agent of the All-Russian Emergency Commission, Afanasii Hryshchenko. On January 23, 1921, he and his brother Fedir Hrabchak asked Leontovich to spend the night, and he let them in. That night, the composer was killed by representatives of the county underground Bolshevik organization.
Afanasii Hryshchenko identified himself as a "Chekist fighting banditry." In the morning, he and a fellow soldier robbed the house and shot the composer. Leontovych did not live to see his international recognition for several months.
"He was killed because he was a very deeply national composer and through his work he stirred up the people to love their national art. Such people could have become very bright "harmful" nationalists. Many other composers were also destroyed by these Bolshevik people who did not want Ukrainian national culture to flourish in the state," Anatolii Zavalniuk said.
There is another version of the reason for Leontovich's murder. One of the motives could also be that the composer was a member of the synod of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church. After all, he wrote a lot of sacred music and was highly regarded in religious circles. As far as we know from the history of Ukraine, the Soviet government banned any religion, so this could also have been the reason for Leontovich's murder.
A few months after Mykola Leontovich's death, "Shchedryk" was performed on the American stage in New York, and the song is now known around the world as "Carol of the Bells." In particular, it is even remixed. For example, it was modernized by DJ Charles B, and there are already more than 4,800 videos on TikTok for the new version of "Shchedryk" in techno style. Read more about the reaction of foreigners here.
Earlier, OBOZ.UA wrote that Russians have desecrated Ukrainian culture again. They translated "Shchedryk" into Russian and organized ice dancing with the stage performance "Evenings on a Farm".